In life, we come across so many people. Some come and go like a breeze, some become inseparable, while some affect our mental health. Of all those who put our mental health at stake, people who do gaslighting are the worst. Why? These people can make us doubt our whole existence, emotions, opinions, thoughts, and perceptions. Believe it or not, to gain leverage over you, these people can make you question your sanity. They will gaslight you to prove themselves right and noble.
One must not be in purlieus of gaslighters, forget about dating them and dreaming of spending your life with them. There can be times when you may have a shocking revelation that the person you love is a gaslighter. Instead of distancing yourself from the person, you may sit and blame your choice. But trust me, it is better to respond to gaslighting wisely and save yourself from the scarring manipulation.
Responding to gaslighting becomes easier if you can spot its signs. To help you with this, here are some common gaslighting phrases and how to deal with them.
1. “Why Are You Being So Dramatic?”
According to gaslighters, dating them means saying goodbye to your emotions and feelings. They may remind you that your feelings are useless and you are overdramatic, even when you are not. You may attempt calling them insensitive and shutting them up but that won’t put the fire out.
How to respond: Let them realize that even cacti (singular: cactus) have feelings. Your gaslighter partner will never be on your side while you are in a stew. The best way to respond to this phrase is by asking, what if the shoe was on the other foot? Ask them, “how would you feel if you were I?” The question is enough to make them sweat like pigs.
2. “I Never Did/Say So”
Gaslighters have a pattern that they follow for months and years. One such pattern is denying their words and actions and leading you towards self-doubt. They may deny it by blaming the effect of alcohol on you or call you an overthinker. You may initially bear their behavior but eventually, it may feel like a dead weight to you.
How to respond: The best way to respond to this gaslighting form is to collect and document the proofs. You can either take screenshots of the texts and emails or record your conversation with them. You can also mention it in your journal and show it to them as corroborations. This way the gaslighter cannot make you doubt your confrontations and allegations.
3. “It Is All Your Fault”
Gaslighters are experts in shifting the blame to others’ heads. They will blame you by using the words “always”, “never”, etc. Such as, if you did something wrong for the first time, they will say, “You always do this”. Or, “you never think of me before messing up things”. These people can give the verdict of who’s right and wrong in a flash. However, you will rarely find them accepting their mistakes. They may hold you responsible for everything that goes wrong in their lives.
How to respond: Get this thing straight throwing counter-accusations or giving explanations may not work. Instead, you can ask, “what do you think I should have done in this situation”? Or, “I did the right thing as it felt righteous. You can suggest alternative ways of doing it or maybe enlighten me by doing it yourself.”
4. “You Are Just Making Up Things.”
As stated earlier, a gaslighter will do everything to compel you to question your sanity. They do so until you develop and start exhibiting submissive behavior. If you express your vulnerabilities, fears, and doubts, they will make you believe, it’s just in your head. They may even pass negative and vague remarks that can confuse you about what’s real.
How to respond: If you are confident in what you felt and experienced, let them know the difference between fiction and reality.
The gaslighter will do anything to change your perception and view, only to prove themselves right. Better stand by what you feel. Convey the gaslighter that their statements cannot alter reality.
5. “It Was Just A Joke”
One of the tell-tale signs of gaslighting is using the ‘just joking’ phrase to hide their wrong deeds and words. These people will use their toxic humor to label their actions and words as jokes. They do so to affect your mental peace in a subtle yet cunning way. They may also portray themselves as someone who did something out of shame or embarrassment.
How to respond: If you can differentiate between humor and mockery, that is best. Let your partner know that deliberately finding humor in a situation is not at all funny, and you condemn it. You can also tell them to stop using jokes to cover up their mean behavior, actions and words.
6. “You Did This/That Wrong In The Past”
When gaslighters have nothing to back their arguments, they may dig the old graves and bring up some issues. You may hear them saying, “what about the time when you did this or said that?” This usually happens, when you confront them for their misdeeds. Instead of accepting their faux pass, they will throw the blame on the past. In short, they try to deviate you from the present situation and portray you as the villain.
How to respond: You can say, “Let us focus on the current issue and try to resolve it. Later, we can discuss my mistakes from the past”. Though your partner has the right to address your past mistakes, using them as a shield is wrong. Since gaslighters have not too little emotional intelligence, they won’t regret their actions. But that does not mean you will hold yourself responsible, even if you are innocent.
To sum it up, gaslighting can rot your confidence level and self-esteem while you become hollow. If it persists for a long time, it can push you till you lose your sanity and question every aspect of your life. If you are going through it, move on before it is too late.
And if you are the one gaslighting people around you, ask yourself, are you a human or a manipulator? Love is kind and generous, contrary to which manipulation is power and entitled hunger.
The choice is yours.
Also Read: Narcissist Alert! Signs Your Partner is One
Prerna loves to write and shower love on animals. She enjoys reading and exploring places. Though sweet in her pictures, at times, she is difficult to understand. Being a strong believer in hard work and karma, she loves solitude and peace. Apart from this, she loves petrichor and harmony and wishes to achieve her one and only ataraxia for a lifetime.